Adopt an Animal - News

Tiger Mauls Zookeeper At Cruel Zoo

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A cruel zookeeper who allegedly used to boil the bones of big cats has been killed by a tiger. The unnamed 50-year-old man was cleaning the tiger’s enclosure when he was attacked last month. The man had been left alone inside the enclosure at the Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village in the Chinese city of Guilin. The zoo claims to have over 1,100 captive tigers and 600 Asian black bears and at one point in time was the largest breeding facility in China.

Zoo has a bad reputation

The zoo has come in for intense criticism in the media after an investigation in 2016 claimed to have found tigers living in run-down enclosures in an extremely dishevelled state.  According to a report in the Daily Mail, after a tiger dies at the zoo, its body is sent to a factory where Chinese tiger bone wine is made. The drink is extremely sweet and 39 per cent liquor. Many people in China believe that drinking it will improve their sex drive.

Breeding for body parts

Apparently, tigers are boiled and then their bones are steeped in massive vats of rice wine for as long as eight years in order to produce the illicit liquor. There is a ban on breeding tigers for their body parts in China that is routinely ignored. Once the liquor is produced, it is then sold for hundreds of dollars per bottle in posh hotels and restaurants.  A statement released by the city’s government said officials are investigating the death of the zoo keeper. This is the second victim in 14 years at the zoo following the death of another member of staff who was feeding the tigers in 2004.

Zoo closed for renovation

Apparently, the victim had been cleaning a tiger cage with a colleague who left momentarily only to return some time later to find the lifeless man. There were no tourists present at the time of the attack because the zoo has been closed as part of renovations. Whilst the zoo has confirmed that the cause of death was an animal attack, it did not specify which species attacked its employee. Amongst its 1,100 tigers are South China tigers, Bengal tigers, white tigers and Siberian tigers.

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Chinese Family Adopts Asiatic Black Bear Thinking It Is A Puppy

New Study Finds Grizzly Bears Able To Use Tools

A Chinese family who adopted what they believed to be a pet dog has been forced to give it up after realising what they had taken into their family was actually a black bear instead. The family is from the Chinese city of Kunming in Yunnan province, and took in what they believed was a Tibetan mastiff puppy whilst on holiday in the region in 2016. What they in fact had inadvertently brought home with them was an Asiatic black bear cub which has now been handed over to a local animal sanctuary.

Insatiable appetite raised suspicions

The owner told a local news service that the family started to become suspicious after “Little Black” simply did not stop growing and continued to gorge on a box of fruit and two buckets of noodles every day. On that diet alone, the bear grew to around 3 feet and weighed 250 pounds. Black bears are well known to stand on their hind legs which is something dogs rarely if ever do. That along with their pet’s insatiable appetite and appearance that was becoming increasingly strange made the family understand they had made a mistake.

Scared of releasing the bear

A neighbour said the more the animal grew, the more it started to look like a bear and even the owner admitted to being scared of her overgrown pet and was afraid of what would happen if she released the animal. Fortunately, the family understood that keeping a bear is illegal and sought help from the local authorities. The bear appears to be in good health and is now being cared for by the Yunnan Wildlife Rescue Centre.

Hunted for body parts

In China, the Asiatic black bear is a protected species and the IUCN considers it vulnerable. The bears are often hunted for their body parts which are used in traditional Chinese medicine which prizes the species gall bladder and bile. There are legal “bear farms” in China which have been established to procure bile from black bears that are being held captive. The IUCN estimates there are 70 of these farms in China with a combined population of 17,000 bears. International trade in black bear bile is illegal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Not the first time this has happened

This is not the first time in China someone has adopted a black bear by mistake, thinking it was a puppy. In 2015 a Yunnan farmer rescued what he believed to be was an abandoned dog from some nearby forests. Despite realising his mistake, the farmer continued to keep the bear whom he had named “Scorpion” in a large cage on his property. Fortunately, someone eventually notified local authorities and the bear was taken into care.

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How To Tell Jaguars And Leopards Apart

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Everybody can tell the difference between a lion and a cheetah, but when it comes to telling jaguars apart from leopards, the difference is not so clear cut. Both of these big cats are muscular and have spotted fur. This is why people tend to confuse the two species and many people actually think they are both the same. As a result, we decided to put together a more detailed look at the two big cats so people could see there is quite a bit of difference between the two feline species.

Jaguars are bigger and badder

The first major difference is that jaguars roam throughout South and Central America and are the largest species of big cat on that continent. Leopards on the other hand live in Africa and Asia. The jaguar is actually the bigger and bulkier of the two, with leopards actually being the smallest big cats in Africa and Asia. Jaguars have huge jaw muscles which deliver the strongest bite of any big cat. The reason there is a difference in size between the two species comes down to their natural environments which force them to hunt different prey.

Jaguars love water

Both jaguars and leopards are excellent swimmers, but jaguars in particular love water and feed on caiman and anacondas. Prey which are also predators in their own right tend to require a lot of effort to kill. Leopards contrastingly avoid the water and rarely if ever hunt crocodiles, preferring to prey on deer and other mammals.

King cats

Both big cats tend to have their own peculiarities. Jaguars know they are the kings of their jungle and tend to be arrogant. They don’t tend to show aggression towards humans but if they come across one, they will communicate through snarls and growls. Leopards on the other hand tend to be quite aggressive because they know they are not the apex predator in their environment and have to constantly be on the look out for danger from other predators such as lions. Their smaller size means they are more athletic and they have the ability to haul their kills up trees.

Black Panthers

The spots on the coats of jaguars and leopards are known as rosettes because these black circles resemble roses. They act as camouflage for both big cats as they prowl through forests and other vegetation. Both leopards and jaguars can be complete black as a result of a mutation which is called a “black panther”. The colouring is the product of a gene which produces surplus melanin which we know everyone who is greying out there would love to have!

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Smoke Inhalation A Real Threat To The Survival Of The Orangutan

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Large scale farming, human encroachment and logging have resulted in habitat loss for orangutans which are now critically endangered. If that threat was not enough, they face another threat in the form of smoke that results from both natural and man-made fire according to the results of a new study. Researchers studying orangutans in the forests of Indonesian Borneo found that their work had to be halted as a result of fires which they helped fight. These fires usually occur every year when small farms and plantations clear the forest to plant crops.

Orangutan behaviour was different

The researchers said they were just a few weeks into the annual fire season when they noticed a different the “long call” made by male orangutans which scientists think is used to attract females as well as warn other males. The researchers say they thought the sound was a little raggedy, very similar to the sound humans make when they smoke a lot. As a result, the researchers decided to investigate whether orangutans who inhaled smoke during fire season suffered from the same kind if ill effects humans who inhale smoke do.

Orangutans bodies respond to smoke inhalation

The researches observed four males who weigh about 200 pounds each, collecting their urine on a daily basis. After analysing both urine and behaviour the researchers found that adult males travelled less frequently, engaged in more rest and consumed more calories. The orangutans also produced more ketone bodies which are molecules produced by the liver from fatty acids during periods of low calorific intake. This finding was paradoxical given the fact that orangutans were eating more, so it begs the question, why are the orangutans burning fat?

Fire frequency and intensity has grown recently

The only thing that had changed was the presence of smoke and fire during the three-month period. The forest floor is made up of peat which is highly flammable and as a result fires tend to rage underground for weeks at a time. During 2015 the fires were especially intense as a result of a strong El Niño effect which also resulted in drought. According to analysis of the soil, wildfires have been taking place in Borneo for thousands of years but have grown in intensity and frequency over the last few decades due to deforestation and the draining of peatlands.

Fires caused premature human deaths

In 2015 Indonesia experience the most intense fire and smoke pollution ever recorded, burning almost 24,000 square kilometres of peatlands, or nearly 12 per cent of total peat area. Peatland fires not only destroy forests but the also release greenhouse gasses and generate hazardous particles which float in the air which are the leading causes globally of pollution related deaths. Studies suggests that the fires resulted in the premature deaths of between 12,000 to 100,000 humans, but almost no research has been conducted on the effects on wildlife.

Fires also have devastating effects on wildlife

Between 1999 and 2015 nearly 100,000 Bornean orangutans unexpectedly died in untouched forests in Kalimantan suggesting that habitat loss could not be the sole reason behind a declining population of the endangered species. Frequent exposure to toxic smoke is likely to have had severe consequences for orangutans as well as other species and humans. The research indicates that we need to understand the long term and indirect impact of these peatland fires in Indonesia and not limit our conclusions to simply habitat loss.

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Panda Cub Makes Her Public Debut At Malaysia’s National Zoo

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Recently a panda cub that was born five months ago at a Malaysian zoo was introduced to the public. So far, the female panda has yet to be given a name and is the second cub to be born to parents Liang Liang and Xing Xing both of whom have been loaned to the zoo for ten years. The first female cub was named Nuan Nuan and was born in 2015. She spent two years with her parents at the zoo before being sent back to China as part of the agreement between the two countries.

World record

The media watched developments closely and captured images of the cub chilling out in her air-conditioned enclosure at the National Zoo. Experts say the cub is very healthy, weighing in at 9 kilograms already. They add it is a world record for natural reproduction of pandas with the parents conceiving and then delivering a second cub within a period of just four years. The National Zoo in Malaysia has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars building a panda complex which included bamboo trees after China loaned out the cub’s parents as a goodwill gesture marking 40 years of diplomatic relations with Malaysia.

Bit of controversy

WWF estimates that there are about 1,864 giant pandas left in the wild living primarily high up in the Western Chinese mountains amongst the bamboo forests which makes up the vast majority of their diets. The adult pair arrived in Malaysia just a few weeks after the Malaysian Airlines plane with 239 passengers most of whom were Chinese nationals vanished in March 2014 on a flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. At the time media in China were heavily critical of the Malaysian government’s handling of the tragedy. So far, no trace of the missing passenger jet has been found.

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